Can Maltodextrin Hurt Me?


Maltodextrin is on the ingredient list of many of the prepared and packaged foods we love to eat. Found in packaged pastries, most candies and many soft drinks, maltodextrin is a food additive that is supposed to improve the flavor, standardize the texture, thicken foods, and extend the shelf life.

How is maltodextrin created?

Made from starches such as wheat, rice, corn or potato starch, maltodextrin is a polysaccharide created by partial hydrolysis using acids or enzymes. (A polysaccharide is many carbohydrates that are linked together in a long-chain molecule.) The end result is a white, relatively tasteless powder with no nutritional value, but one that can provide quick energy.

Where is maltodextrin used?

Maltodextrin is added to foods, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, and even animal feed. It is labelled “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA for use in a wide variety of foods. Look for it in:

  • Chocolate and other candies
  • Snacks such as barbecued potato chips, popcorn, and crackers
  • Canned foods with sauces such as spaghetti sauce
  • Canned foods with syrups in them such as canned fruits
  • Commercially baked items such as cakes, pies, cookies, and breads
  • Granola and other breakfast foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Puddings and pie fillings
  • Some supplements
  • Sugar substitutes such as Splenda
  • Coffee, sports drinks, and nutritional drinks.

What are the drawbacks to eating maltodextrin?

The majority of the maltodextrin produced in the United States is made from corn. According to the Center for Food Safety, up to 92% of the corn produced in the US derives from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In GMO corn, biotech companies have removed the genetic material from one organism and inserted it into the genetic code of corn to create a crop that can withstand huge amounts of pesticides. Unfortunately those pesticide residues remain in the crops, and show up in our food ingredients such as maltodextrin.

Another issue with maltodextrin is that its’ glycemic index is higher than table sugar, which poses challenges for diabetics and persons trying to avoid weight gain.

Common problems that some people have experienced after eating maltodextrin include

  • Allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, or itching in the mouth
  • Flatulence, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, or bloating because gut bacteria become very active in an attempt to digest artificially created complex carbohydrates
  • Possible digestive system inflammation for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Read the labels before eating prepared foods, and if maltodextrin is an ingredient, proceed with caution if you have any of these issues.

These Metagenics supplements offer help with any distress you experience after eating maltodextrin-laden foods:

Metagenics UltraFlora varieties

Metagenics CandiBactin

Metagenics Glutagenics

Metagenics SpectraZyme